Vietnamese Woodblock Art or Folk Art is thought to have originated in the Ho Village, north of Hanoi, Vietnam. Originated as part of the celebration of the Lunar New Year Festiva, the villagers drew, engraved on wood and printed colorful pictures onto homemade paper to display, sell and give to others. Scenes represented good luck, dreams come true or told simple tales. The art was popular among village residents and brightened the walls of their homes.
This simple art from the Ho village is a model that was later used by other Vietnamese artists. Guided by old masters and encouraged by the government, these hand-printed pictures are again a popular form. The peasant prints are one of the only sources of popular pictorial art in Vietnam. Some classic pictures show image of prosperity, others reflect all aspects of the people's daily life and optimism. The prints make use of simple primary colors that are bright and lively. Although rarely seen in the West, recently there is increased interest by collectors in these unique and charming works.
Some of the famous Vietnamese woodblock artists:
>>> Pham Van Don (1917 - 2000)
Pham Van Don, born in Hanoi, specialized in wood carving and wood prints. His theme was Vietnamese traditional belief and live styles. He was a graduate from the Fine Arts College of Vietnam in Hanoi and later became a lecturer at the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts. His works also covered lacquer paintings. His wife was a sculptor, Nguyen Ghi Kim. They held exhibition together in country and abroad. Some of his famous works are: A H'mong Family Going to the Market (1992) - above, Uncle Ho Visiting the Village (1972, Woodblock print, private collector) - below.
>>> Nguyen Tien Chung 1914-1976
Nguyen Tien Chung, born in Hanoi, specialized in lacquer, silk and wood cutting. He used rural subjects and daily lives of Vietnamese as themes. He graduated from the Fine Arts College of Vietnam in Hanoi(1936-1941). He later worked at the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam as a lecturer from 1955-1964.